June 16 saw the start of the SS14 London Collections: Men and what better place to start our review than with Mr Start himself:
Mr Start brings sartorial elegance to casual wear with his SS14 capsule collection. A twist to the bomber jacket included starched double cuff shirt detailing and crisp white cotton pique fabric. Other fabrics used were luxurious silks, linen and subtly striped seersucker.
All teamed with Mr Hare colourful footwear ranging from pearly pastel trainers to the brightly coloured espadrilles that so conjured up a life of luxury in the Riviera.
Mainly a colour palette of tonal neutrals ranging from soft greys to pure white with accents of cornflower blue, the collection had a calming and soothing feel. Due to the neutral colours, intarsia patterns on sweaters, giant mesh pique and tweed patterns on slouchy crombie coats and suits were subtle, concentrating on adding texture and depth to the collection.
Sharp suits were teamed with long flowing opaque kaftan shirts, trilby hats and neck scarves tied with woggles bringing a relaxed laid back twist to the tailored look. Letting the layering and tailoring do the talking, the main colour palette was black and white with a few suits in cool blues and caramel browns.
Portraying the Spencer Hart man was American actor Clark Peters, looking chilled and being king of all he surveyed as he leisurely walked the catwalk.
This time the King was more of a fairytale prince with models wearing leather cut outs of crowns and with Abley’s own signature design of the Teddy Bear silhouette incorporated on tops in between the regal Fleur de Lys. Disney Snow White’s blue bird fluttered around as tattoos on the models faces and arms as well as shirts and tees. Like the fairy tales the colour palette was sugar sweet with candy pinks, baby blues and basket weave prints of golden toffee.
Taylor goes for a muted colour palette of greys and berry in fabrics of grainy tweeds with elbow length sleeved jackets and side slit shorts giving a kind of sartorial street urchin look. Smoother fabrics included black transparent organza jackets with less opaque lapels, seams and patch pockets over white shirts. Skinny cropped trousers created a slim silhouette, whilst deconstructed jackets, shirts and jumpers attached to tops hung down like aprons adding volume.
From the fairytale prince we go to the nuclear zone warrior carrying large plywood sculptured shields whilst multi coloured bandage like scarves obscured most of the models’ face and vision. Multi layered as though the warrior needs the protection, included short sleeved tops over long sleeved, tunics under jackets and wide cropped trousers over jogging style trousers. Raw edges and seams were frayed and black chunky woollens worn inside out. Colour palette was either the ninja black or a literal explosion of tie dye multi colours splashed like paint over the pieces.
Real life heroes of WWII Long Range Desert Group were the inspiration for Raeburn’s Sandstorm collection. Colour palette was of the soft neutral sand and khaki with accents of dusty pink and shades of blues. The desert lizard was the animal of the season with garments in a subtle lizard skin print whilst the lizard also cleverly disguised itself in a geometric pattern. Fabrics were in keeping with the theme with 50s rubberised cotton, army mesh and parachute silk.
Go West Young Man
Two collections stood out for the Wild Wild West theme but both having a different take.
Going for the drifter/road trip cowboy look you could image him hanging out in a bar in the middle of the desert somewhere near the Mexican border. Titled We Meet by Accident, this collection is definitely no accident and this drifter has a sense of style with a capsule wardrobe ranging from shorts, tees and blazers to suits and ties. He’s brave with his prints of Ikat, city sketches, bold stripes as well as the obligatory check shirt and he isn’t afraid to wear colour from hot mustard, burgundy to the dusty pastel shades of pink and peach. This drifter can fit in where ever he lays his cowboy hat.
TOPMAN went for the rodeo showmanship style with silk embroidered shirts over black skinny polo necks worn with oversized pleated loose trousers and metallic belts. Absent were the flashy and garish colours, fringes and rhinestones, this was a more refined cowboy in a winter colour palette of the classic monochrome black and white with accents of deep burgundies and just a splash of gold. But watch out, some of those embroidered flowers have whopping big spiders stitched amongst them!
Bright and Bold
Truly making travelling on public transport cool, prints from this collection were inspired by the upholstery on bus and train seats from the small placement prints on white tees to the colourful loud jazzy lines on the suiting. Not all patterns and prints; the plain fabrics were colour block panels of bright orange and shades of blue on oversized jackets and coats with rubberised taped seams.
Inspired by the Super Club Scene, this collection was a mix of the wearable and the impractical with a common denominator of all being fabulous. The impractical included the hard shiny PVC shorts bound to chafe and the sweat inducing opaque rubber shirts in neon brights. But hey they say you have to suffer for fashion. The more wearable were the softer ‘normal’ fabrics in retro Liberty floral prints and techno zebra pattern. Bomber jackets with detachable zip sleeves and buttoned up shirts worn with saggy shorts with dipped hem at the back. And for that finishing club scene touch, the models’ hair were styled with brightly coloured glitter by Fudge.
Last but not least was Xander Zhou’ s collection showing his perception of the world with deconstructed tailoring, elongated shirt sleeves, pvc singlets, mini tailored shorts and long coats in a collage of website imagery prints. This was the designer’s ‘Sum of Likes’ and it didn’t matter that the viewer saw or understands what he sees. For me, it wasn’t the rubber thigh garters, the constricting steel chokers or the exceptionally ape length sleeves that puzzled me but the wide waist sash with what looked to be a waiter’s side apron. But as Zhou says, it didn’t matter.
Christopher Raeburn images by Carl Burgess
Christopher Shannon & Xander Zhou images by Christopher Dadey
By Karen GracePersonal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky http://www.frumpytofunky.com